Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey  styledstagedsold

LAS VEGAS – Some home features don’t stay popular forever. More homes are inching away from incorporating the following home features, according to recent consumer preference surveys.

1. Fireplaces: The fireplace skyrocketed in importance in homes in 1991 with 62 percent of new homes having one or more. But the number has steadily been decreasing ever since. In 2007, the number dropped to 51 percent.

2. Carpet: While 54 percent of homes still have carpet floors, the number is decreasing and hardwood floors are taking the place. Vinyl and ceramic tile flooring also are being bypassed more by buyers. Seventeen percent of new homes contain hardwood floors throughout the entire house.

3. Living room: These once-decorative centerpieces of homes are slowly vanishing from newer homes. Thirty-four percent of consumers say they’re willing to buy a home without a living room.

4. Desks in the kitchen: These desks were once looked at as great storage areas but they’re often too small and quickly become clutter spaces in a home, said Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, more consumers say they prefer larger desks in or near the family room—equipped with a messaging center—where they can keep an eye on their kids as they work on the computer.

5. Skylights: The little windows that allow natural light to seep into a home from above are falling out of style. Only 10 percent of new homes will include them this year, a continuing downward spiral for skylights.

6. Upscale kitchen finishes: Granite countertops are slowly becoming less desirable among buyers who are now moving toward affordable, low-maintenance laminate countertops—which tend to last longer and now come in various styles.

What trends are you noticing are falling out of favor with your buyers?

Living in a Historic community and having 4 fireplaces which I LOVE- I do not agree with this one 🙂 – you just can not beat my heat sucking beauties!   I’m also not a fan of Granite- I have butcher block… I think next I would want concrete buffed..

Which NPU- are YOU in?

NPU- Neighborhood Planning Unit.

Click HERE  for a list of Atlanta Neighborhoods and their NPU’s.

What is a Neighborhood Planning Unit?

The City of Atlanta is divided into twenty-five Neighborhood Planning Units or NPUs, which are citizen advisory councils that make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on zoning, land use, and other planning issues.  The NPU system was established in 1974 to provide an opportunity for citizens to participate actively in the Comprehensive Development Plan, now called the Atlanta Strategic Action Plan, which is the city’s vision for the next five, ten, and fifteen years.  It is also used as a way for citizens to receive information concerning all functions of city government.  The system enables citizens to express ideas and comment on city plans and proposals while assisting the city in developing plans that best meet the needs of their communities

Can You Still Buy Without a Fixed Mortgage?

Buying a house doesn’t necessarily require getting a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage.

More and more people are exploring alternative financing plans as it gets harder to get a conventional bank loan.

Here are some creative ways to pay for a home, according to some financial experts:

  • Securities-backed loans. The lender gives the borrower 80 percent of the value of his stock portfolio. Then the lender holds the stock for between three and 10 years while charging a 3 percent to 5 percent interest on the loan. At the end, the borrower gets his original shares back. Both win if the stock has increased in value.
  • Two-step mortgages. This fixed rate mortgage is amortized over 40 years, but the payment schedule is adjustable.
  • Constant-amortization mortgage. Buyers start with a higher payment, but the loan is constantly re-amortized, so principal is reduced faster than with a conventional loan.
  • Family loans. In the most successful arrangements, the family puts the agreement in writing and the lender charges the borrower a rate of interest high enough to pass IRS scrutiny, thus avoiding any gift tax.
  • Assuming a mortgage. Buyers interested in purchasing a house in the pre-foreclosure stage might ask the lender if they can assume the mortgage. In some circumstances this can be a good deal.

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (01/26/09)

4 Tips to Getting a Loan

These days one of the biggest impediments to closing a real estate sale can be the buyer’s ability to get a mortgage.

Here are some tips for anyone who hopes to land a loan:

  • Turn to the government. The biggest source of loans these days is the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA). These programs accept borrowers with lower credit scores and allow them to put down as little as 3.5 percent of the purchase price.

  • Document, document, document. Borrowers will need bank statements, brokerage statements, W-2 forms and tax returns.

  • Boost credit scores. Borrowers should avoid having more than one-third of their maximum borrowing capacity outstanding on one credit card. If necessary, rotate the debt among several cards.

  • Work your connections. Comparison shopping is easy online, but if your customer has an established relationship with a local bank, suggest they try that lender first.

Source: BusinessWeek.com, Christopher Palmeri (01/23/09)